December 15, 2020:

"How do you know what's popular?" asked the scoffing man, the man who loved to sneer at others, the man whose ex-wife, my mother, bent over backward to assure me was "not stupid, just ignorant". In plainer words, How do you know what taste to have formed for you, on your behalf, while you allow yourself to be passively formed, you lump of inert playdough, you.

But I can scoff, too. "Pfffff," I scoffed, scoffing. "Why would I care what's popular? Odds are strong if it's popular I won't like it."

That was The Truth, as I spoke it incessantly at the time. But also it was true, literally and actually. There are rare exceptions, but for the most part, if it's on pop radio I probably don't like it.

The question stunned him. It seemed it was impossible for him to consider that reality might work in the way I was suggesting. It was the obvious of the given, the received notion which demanded no examination because it required none.

More than that. It was a language. Not merely the language of undergraduate intellectualism. My personal language, which amounted to Fuck you for not paying your child support. Which was his own not-very-unique language, his lifelong language, which was also true, albeit in a far more visceral way.